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TV Review: Desperate Housewives – “Witch’s Lament”

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“Witch’s Lament” is the Halloween installment of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, and thus is spooky, containing ghosts and dark woods. In the episode, Bree (Marcia Cross) enlists Lynette (Felicity Huffman) and Gaby (Eva Longoria) to help her move Alejandro’s (Tony Plana, who also directed this episode) body before Ben (Charles Mesure) disturbs the area with his new condos. Meanwhile, Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) tries to deny his alcoholism, which is triggered by his murder of Alejandro, and growing worse. He meets Allen (Scott Lawrence, JAG), who is willing to be his sponsor, if Carlos will let him.

Alejandro’s murder is the slow-simmering mystery of the final season of Desperate Housewives. It’s not a question of who killed the guy, as that is known by viewers and several characters alike. However, when will the other shoe drop? When will Alejandro be found? Will the wives or Carlos pay for his death? Will Chuck Vance (Jonathan Cake) be the one to catch them, or is there something he can do to help? Would he even want to help anymore?

In “Witch’s Lament,” this plot takes a huge twist when Bree, Lynette, and Gaby discover that someone has already dug up Alejandro. Many questions remain, such as who found the body? What did they do with it? Will Alejandro be turned over to law enforcement or used as blackmail? Is there any solid evidence to connect the main characters to the crime? Who is the man chasing them near the grave site?

Of course, Carlos should have just called the police in the first place. The circumstances and witnesses, his friends, would have likely been enough to clear him on the ground of self-defense. Yet, he didn’t, and now it’s far too late. Once the truth comes out, and at this point it seems almost certain that it will, someone will pay. Whether it will be just Carlos, who actually killed the man, or all of the wives, too, for helping to cover it up, remains to be seen.

Carlos is taking the murder harder than anyone, which is to be expected. He is, at heart, a good guy and a religious man, which causes him to feel deep guilt. Although the alcoholic plot has already been covered by Bree in an earlier season, it feels fresh when repeated under these circumstances. Anyone in his position would need some kind of escape from the pain and feeling of responsibility plaguing him, and alcohol is a handy balancer.

Now there is simply a wait to see what will happen. Can Carlos ever start to feel better without confessing? Alcohol may hurt him, but he is also seeking some sort of punishment. Not as blatantly as Susan (Teri Hatcher) does for her involvement, but the self-destructive path makes sense. If the law doesn’t catch him, then he will make sure he pays in another way. This story isn’t going away anytime soon, so much is still very up in the air.

Susan is completely oblivious to all of the major developments this week. She, instead, interns for Andre (Miguel Ferrer, Crossing Jordan), which basically means she has to watch his kid, Jasper (Mason Cook, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D). Susan is trying to get Andre to like her, so she does whatever he asks. But after seeing how he doesn’t even like his son, she makes it her new mission to bring father and son closer together. This fails, too. Susan’s intentions are good, but she can’t change Andre. He is a personality that she just does not understand at all, which makes it impossible for her to reach him.

More importantly, though, Andre warns Susan that, to be an artist, she will have to be like him, and there may not be anything she can do to stop it. He seems to scare Susan a little bit, but he’s just talking crazy. Susan has been an artist since long before the series began. Even though she is pursuing the interest with renewed energy now, that doesn’t mean her approach will be drastically different than it has been all of these years. For Andre to suggest that she’s going to lose herself and her family because of an artistic drive at this point in her life seems highly unlikely. This is a plot better suited to someone just out of high school, not close to middle age.

Lynette also has family problems. Jane (Andrea Parker, The Pretender, Less Than Perfect) offers to make Penny (Darcy Rose Byrnes) a Halloween costume, making Lynette feel like she is being replaced. And she sort of is. Tom (Doug Savant) is getting serious with Jane, who wants to be there for their kids. Lynette scrambles to find Penny a costume, pretending to make it. In the end, Jane must save the day when the costume Lynette gets, giving it to her daughter without first inspecting it, is too slutty.

Predictably, there is a nice bonding moment between Lynette and Jane as they understand each other, and Jane shows sympathy. But then things take a darker turn as Lynette tells Jane to stop trying to steal her family. Lynette’s accusations, at first sounding mean, prove founded when Jane vows to fight for Tom. Tom and Lynette are separated, so it’s understandable that Jane would think Tom is available. But she has never tangled with Lynette before, so she doesn’t realize just how fierce this mama grizzly can be. Lynette and Tom will probably end up back together in the end, but Jane brings a new threat that will not be easily shoved aside, and is far more interesting than expected.

Lastly, Renee (Vanessa Williams) makes a fool of herself when taking Chinese sex drugs before a date with Ben. While the pair get off to a rocky start this season, they are relatively solid now. Ben accompanies her to the hospital when Renee has a reaction to the drug, and obviously isn’t too bothered. The feelings they share are growing, and won’t fall apart without good reason. With this being the final season, and both not being as central as other characters, look for the couple to not have too many obstacles to overcome. Everyone likes a happy ending.

Watch Desperate Housewives Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • Jaylen

    This was a very good recap! You should write more on Desperate Housewives. So far, I’m enjoying this season tremendously. I especially like the fact that the writers seem to be giving Vanessa Williams a bit more to do as Renee!

  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    Thank you! This was my 2nd this season, and covered about 5 episodes last year. Hope to do more than 5, since it is the final season, but haven’t been blown away a single week yet. Hoping they kick things up a notch as they move towards the end. I also love Williams, both on Ugly Betty, and as Renee.